Louise joined Gleeds as people director in January 2018. Here she tells us about her career, her plans for developing HR within the organisation, and how she plans to deal with the gender pay gap.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I have developed my career in HR over the last 18 years, having started as a Training Manager at Thresher (part of Whitbread group). I have worked for a number of notable retail brands such as Selfridges, where I ran the HR team across recruitment, training and employee relations at their Oxford Street store. I was subsequently appointed to my first HR Director position with The Dune Group.
Most recently, I held the role of People Director for Majestic Wine plc. My role at Majestic focussed on improving employee engagement and retention across 1,250 UK and French based employees.
What is the purpose of your role?
The role of people director at Gleeds is to build to the capability of our people and teams to ensure that we’ve got the right resource and skill level to see that the business achieves its goals.
We have amazing and talented people at Gleeds. My role is to give everyone the opportunity to develop and progress their career and to help them maximise their potential at work.
A big part of my role is developing a culture within Gleeds that people want to be a part of and feel that they belong to. Within this we need to make sure that we work hard for our employees so that they engage with what we’re doing as a business and want to belong to that.
Can you explain the next steps following the release of Gleeds’ gender pay gap figures?
One of my challenges as people director is to make sure that we’re developing women throughout the organisation so that we have a more equal population across all levels, all the way up to Main Board.
As part of our diversity and inclusion agenda, my remit is to implement a clear plan to improve representation of women at all levels within Gleeds.
Our intention is that by raising awareness and improving the support networks available to all women at Gleeds, we will also increase the number of female leaders in our business. This goes hand in hand with working to enhance our approach to flexible working for everyone in the business.
What are the big changes taking place in workplace culture across the world right now?
The changing nature of our work force. Generation Z are now entering the employment market and with that comes a new set of demands for employers. For this generation, work has to be meaningful and engaging.
We have to acknowledge that people want to try new things, new careers, new experiences so may not stay in their job for as long as we would previously have expected. That means employers are having to work harder to keep people’s interest and talent.